Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum

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Welcome back to National Parks & other public lands with T! If you are seeing this on Twitter or Facebook, please visit the blog to see all of the photos and read the story by clicking the link.

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The FDR Roosevelt Presidential Library was built under the direction of FDR himself in order to preserve the records of the 32nd president of the United States. Roosevelt had been a collector his whole life, believed he would only serve two terms when he broke ground for the library and wanted to insure public access to his presidential collections. Dedicated in 1941, it is managed by the National Archives and Records Administration.

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Because of the precedent set by FDR’s library, Congress passed the Presidential Libraries Act in 1955 in order to preserve the papers of future presidents for the public. FDR’s is the first of 13 Presidential Libraries.

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The land for the library was donated by FDR and his mother Sara Roosevelt. It sits on 16 acres within the Hyde Park estate and the FDR National Historic Site. FDR used a room in the library as his office.

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The museum has sections for Roosevelt’s early life and family history, his four presidential campaigns and the different eras spanned by his terms. There are also displays devoted to Eleanor, the First Lady.

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There are many interactive displays and videos…you could spend the whole day here if you stopped to press all the buttons, read all of the displays and watch the clips. But I wanted to see the three NPS sites in Hyde Park that day, so I had to take a more abbreviated tour through the library.

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Hyde Park posts:

  • FDR Presidential Library
  • Eleanor Roosevelt National Historic Site (Coming Soon)
  • Gardens at Bellefield (Coming Soon)
  • Home of FDR National Historic Site (Coming Soon)
  • Vanderbilt Mansion National Historic Site (Coming Soon)

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Location: 4079 Albany Post Rd, Hyde Park, NY 12538

Designation: Presidential Library

Date designated or established: 6/30/1941

Date of my visit: 10/3/2018

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Freedom Court, in front of the presidential library, commemorates the shared ideals of FDR and Winston Churchill. The sculpture at the center is ‘Break Free’ and was designed by Churchill’s granddaughter.

10 thoughts on “Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum

  1. This was great! I love presidential libraries, but had never been to this one. It seems so very different than Reagan’s, or Nixon’s (the last two I’ve been to). Very… quaint? Great pictures, and especially of that wheelchair — wow. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! This is the only presidential library I’ve been to, so I’ve no basis for comparison, but I’d imagine it’s different just by virtue of the fact that FDR was the only president to be elected for 4 terms and they spanned so much of our pivotal history. On the tour of his home. we learned how FDR never let his disability limit him. Those wheelchairs weren’t really wheelchairs…he just had ordinary household chairs converted by adding the wheels to his specifications and he ‘walked’ with crutches every day down the considerable length of his driveway to keep his upper body strength up.

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      1. That’s amazing — I never knew that fact about his “wheelchairs,” and how uplifting. I was wondering why they looked so unique.

        As for libraries, they run the gambit, I think. For example, Reagan’s is vast and with all politics asides, it’s a neat place–anyone can appreciate it. But Nixon’s, just a few hours away… it’s tiny and seems like it’s all about rehabilitating his image. I felt like it was a propaganda machine and not a museum. I’d never go back to that one, but to FDR’s, I’d LOVE to!

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      2. Interesting! I’d read somewhere that the Nixons had moved to a neighboring town here after his resignation. The place fell into disrepair after his death and I think they recently demolished it. Guess no one wanted to preserve his legacy badly enough to save it. FDRs Library doesn’t completely whitewash his darkest legacies (like the internment of Japanese Americans) but the overall presentation is positive, inspirational and gives one hope for the future of democracy. I hope you make it there! I will definitely visit others when I find them in my travels

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  2. This is a really interesting place. Far exceeded my expectatione. I had my dog in the car with me when I visited and was happy to learn that you can take your dog out on the grounds. FDR was a dog lover and I enjoyed walking my dog on the same paths where FDR’s dogs had once prowled.

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  3. I so enjoyed visiting FDR’s library, T, thank you. I went to Lincoln’s library in Springfield and would love to visit more, I find them fascinating and character-revealing. I can imagine one could spend all day here, as you said. I was interested to hear FDR’s precedent inspired the Presidential Libraries Act, did not know that. I look forward to your future exhibits.

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